Indonesia is well-known as a country with diverse ethnicities, religions, and races. Although 80 percent of the population is Muslim, Indonesia is not an Islamic state. Indonesia recognizes five religions, which are IslamIslam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to..., Catholicism, ProtestantismProtestant is a term used for the range of reform movements that broke with the Roman Catholic Church during the period called the Reformation. There are many branches of Protestantism, including the Lutherans, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists..., Hinduism“Hindu” was originally a word given by the Greeks, then the Persians, to the land and peoples beyond the Indus or “Sindhu” River. The term “Hinduism” came into common use only in the 19th century to describe a complex and dynamic pattern of li..., and BuddhismBuddhism is a multi-hued tradition of life, thought, and practice that has developed from the teaching and practice of Siddhartha Gautama (6th century BCE) who came to be called the Buddha, the awakened one. The three major streams of the tradition—Ther.... Indonesia’s constitution assures the right for all persons to worship according to his or her own religion. Indonesia has a strong history of coping with its diverse religions. However, incidents that involved religion have nevertheless occurred. The closure by force of more than two dozen churchesThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ... in West Java by the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) in 2003, the conflict between Muslim residents and members of a Christian Batak ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ..., and the violent attack against followers of the Muslim Ahmadiyah sect are some examples. These indicate that something is amiss with regard to engagement among religious communities.
Indonesia today is not only a country with diverse religions, ethnicities, and races, but also a country with several challenges related to issues of religious pluralism. This report tries to describe how tolerance, pluralism (religious), and dialogue among members of religious communities in Indonesia have been promoted and improved. It also attempts to map the hindrances to religious pluralism in Indonesia.
Firstly, this report will explore the helpful aspects of emerging issues of religious pluralism in Indonesia, including the roles of government, individuals, and non-governmental organizations that work to enhance public awareness and understanding about how to engage with other members of other religious communities. Secondly, it will explore those aspects that hinder the efforts in promoting inter-religious harmony in Indonesia, such as the fatwas (Islamic decrees) of MUI (Islamic Ulama’ Council), and the rise of the Islamic fundamentalist movement.
—Agus Hadi Nahrowi, Pluralism Project Affiliate